Kenneth Varnell of Brandon owns his own masonry business but at age 41 he doesn’t think he’ll be up to physical labor forever.
That’s why he decided to enroll at Hinds Community College. At the academic and career-technical credential graduation on May 12 he received an Associate of Arts degree, which paves the way for further academic study.
“I decided to get an education because I thought I’d need it later. My brain is still sharp. I don’t feel like I can lay bricks forever,” he said. “I might want to teach later.”
He was among nearly 1,200 Hinds graduates over the course of two days who enroll in Hinds for one reason: to make the lives of themselves and their families better.
Those students received 1,534 degrees and certificates, meaning some graduates received more than one credential. Of that number almost 800 chose to participate in one of the three ceremonies on Friday at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus in Pearl or a Sunday ceremony at the Utica Campus.
Among the graduates, 97 achieved summa cum laude, a 4.0 grade point average; 165 achieved magna cum laude, 3.6 to 3.99 GPA and 255 achieved cum laude, 3.2 to 3.59.
The speaker for the third ceremony of the day was Hinds alumnus Dr. Tom Burnham, who served two stints as State Superintendent of Education and is currently interim director of the Mississippi Principal Corps based in Oxford.
“We are fortunate in Mississippi to have one of the finest community college systems in the country,” Burnham noted. “The strength and appeal of the community college system is the diversity of our enrollments. As you consider our graduates, some would meet the definition of traditional while others would be non-traditional. Some would be just entering the workforce, while others are adding to their skill base.”
“This is a time we as educators enjoy celebrating,” said Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse. He noted that student diplomas this year will include a gold seal commemorating the college’s 100th anniversary. Hinds opened in 1917 and is celebrating the Centennial with a host of activities throughout the calendar year.
Hinds CC graduates tout preparation for next step.
Hinds Community College is celebrating its 100th year of Community Inspired Service in 2017. Hinds opened in September 1917 first as an agricultural high school and admitted college students for the first time in 1922, with the first class graduating in 1927. In 1982 Hinds Junior College and Utica Junior College merged, creating the Hinds Community College District. Today, as Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution with six locations. Hinds offers quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.